Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen has been trying to avoid a trip to the disabled list after suffering a an avulsion fracture involving the costochondral cartilage of his left 11th rib one week ago against the Diamondbacks. The Pirates have been taking it slow, giving McCutchen time to heal up, and it appears to have been the right call.
Via Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune, Pirates GM Neal Huntington said of the defending NL MVP’s recovery: “His progress has been remarkable. That’s the most apt word I can put on it.” Huntington continued:
The Pirates, who lost to the Padres 8-2 on Sunday afternoon, have gone 3-3 since McCutchen’s last start on August 3. The 27-year-old four-time All-Star was in the midst of another MVP-esque season, blasting 17 home runs, knocking in 67 runs, stealing 17 bases, and slashing .311/.411/.536.
Clayton Kershaw had nothing left to prove when he exited the mound during his last Cactus League start on Friday. He finished camp with a 0.00 ERA, made all the more impressive after he extended his scoreless streak to 21 1/3 innings following 6 2/3 frames of one-hit ball against the Royals.
In six spring training starts this year, the Dodgers southpaw racked up 12 hits, four walks and 23 strikeouts. His velocity appeared to fluctuate between the high-80s and low-90s from start to start, but manager Dave Roberts told reporters that he expects Kershaw to get back up to the 93 m.p.h. range next week. Kershaw is tabbed for his eighth consecutive Opening Day start on Thursday.
The 30-year-old lefty is poised to enter his 11th season with the club in 2018. He went 18-4 in 27 starts last year and turned in a 2.31 ERA, 1.5 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 over 175 innings. He suffered his fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, including a lower back strain that required a five-week stay on the disabled list.
The Dodgers will open their season against the Giants on Thursday, March 29 at 7:08 PM ET. Given the sudden rash of injuries that hit the Giants’ rotation earlier today, Kershaw’s Opening Day opponent has not yet been announced.